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Plea deal reached: Accused face-biter Austin Harrouff found NOT GUILTY by reason of insanity

Face Biting Attack
FILE – This Oct. 3, 2016, file photo, provided by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, shows Austin Harrouff. A judge will allow as evidence a video of Harrouff struggling against his restraints at a Florida hospital on the night he’s accused of killing two people. Harrouff’s attorneys say the video shows the “mental status” of the 22-year-old hours after he’s accused of killing 59-year-old John Stevens III and 53-year-old Michelle Mishcon. (Martin County Sheriff’s Office via AP, File)

(STUART, FLA) — UPDATE — A former Florida State University student accused of killing a Treasure Coast couple in their garage six years ago and then chewing on one victim’s faces, has been found “not guilty by reason of insanity.”

All parties agreed to the plea deal on Monday, the day Harrouff’s bench trial was set to begin. The prosecution, defense and judge all agreed to the deal.

Harrouff will be committed to a secure mental health facility until doctors and a judge agree that he is no longer dangerous. Without the deal, Harrouff could have faced life in prison.

Harrouff previously pled not guilty by reason of insanity and waived his right to a jury trial.

The bench trial for the former FSU student accused of killing a Martin County couple and biting the face of one victim in 2016, is set to begin this Monday.

Harrouff allegedly targeted, attacked and killed strangers John Stevens and Michelle Mishcon who happened to be inside the open garage of their Tequesta home as Harrouff walked past on his way home.

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder initially told reporters the murders could “absolutely” have been fueled by the synthetic drug flakka, but the long-awaited toxicology report released in November 2016 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed that “no designer drugs were in Harrouff’s system” at the time of the attack, only alcohol and trace amounts of marijuana.

Harrouff is charged with two counts of first-degree murder as well as an attempted first-degree murder charge in the attack on the neighbor who was stabbed when he intervened.

Harrouff’s defense attorneys will seek an acquittal by reason of insanity from a judge only with no jury. Forensic psychologist Dr. Phillip Resnick found Harrouff was suffering from “severe mental disease,” specifically bipolar disorder and acute manic episodes with psychotic features, as well as “clinical lycanthropy delusions,” also known as werewolf syndrome.

Listen to Full Rigor episode on Austin Harrouff’s bizarre crimes.